Intersex Parenting: Ethical and Legal Implications of the Treatment of Intersex Infants and the Ramifications for Their Families


  • Nina Baumgartner Tulane University


In April 2006, a team of physicians at the Medical University of South Carolina performed female genital normalizing surgery on an intersex infant under the care of the South Carolina Department of Social Services. The now eight-year-old adopted “M.C.” has come to identify as the male sex. The surgical assignment of sex and gender to intersex infants is an immensely complex issue involving changing beliefs in medicine, the tensions between the fields of medical science and feminism, and the legal and ethical implications of sex-assignment surgery on an infant. M.C.’s adopted parents now face the tough decisions of whether or not to file a lawsuit on behalf of their son, and, more broadly, determining the best way to raise a child facing these circumstances.